8.04.2011

Counting Down...

Last night I was thinking about my checklist for school and about the paperwork (so much paperwork...especially if you have more than one child!) and what the school needs to know so if there is ever a time that they need to reach me...how would they do that?

I certainly am available by my cell phone, and for most of us these days that is the best way to get a hold of someone-text, emoticon, tweet, etc. But the school needs a current and up to date cell phone number. In this transitional society where families are moving from apartment to apartment, house to house, friend to friend, maybe even living in a shelter or other temporary housing, having accurate contact information is crucial. Not only that but who is your "go-to-in-an-emergency" contact? For most families it is the grandparents or other close relative. But in my family, our closest relatives are not that close to the school, so in an emergency as reliable as they are for so many things, they may not be the best go-to source.

I think it is important to recognize that it may be the better choice to go with a close family friend. Maybe your child is fortunate enough to have a best friend in their class...and you are fortunate to be friends with their family as well. Perhaps discussing with your friend having their name on the emergency contact list might be the best option, especially if that friend is closer to the school and can get there in a go-to situation.

We also know that there is a large percentage of grandparents raising their grandchildren and are the primary care-givers. For some of these grandparents, transportation to the school in case of an emergency might be difficult. So maybe part of your checklist is if you happen to be in the building and see a child in the office who looks a bit upset to be the go-to mom (or dad) of that moment, for just a little hand holding until the designated adult in their life can arrive.

The bottom line. Make sure when you fill out the paperwork it is accurate and up-to-date. In addition, if circumstances change...make sure to let the school know. Think of how much time is spent in an office in an emergency situation calling number after number and not being able to find you. We like to think there will never be a need to call, but you never know. But most importantly, think of how your child feels sitting in the office...waiting, waiting, waiting...all because a phone number isn't up to date.

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